Things could actually prove tough for the governor. He enters his second term with a less impressive electoral mandate and an angry Legislature that may not roll over as easily.
Lawmakers are particularly upset that Cuomo failed to enact the first legislative pay raise since 1999. And after four years, his Type A personality has become more grating to them.
He also has a powerful enemy in the teachers unions, which hold great sway over the Assembly Democrats, who are likely to fight much of Cuomo’s education reform agenda.
“His relationship with the Legislature is not nearly as strong as it was when he started the first year of his first term,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg. “He is a known entity compared to wondering what his governing style is going to be.”
I've already posted why the so-called "powerful" teachers union may not fight a good part of Cuomo's education reform agenda, but I think the points Lovett makes about the Assembly Dems looking to fight him are salient ones.
One other point bears noting - there are a whole bunch of Albany pols under federal investigation by US Attorney Preet Bharara, including Tom Libous, the second-ranking Republican in the Senate, Shelly Silver, the Assembly Speaker, and Governor Cuomo himself for tampering in "his" Moreland Commission.
Actions taken by the US Attorney's office, whether leaks of information to the press or actual indictments of politicians or members of their staffs, will affect the balance of power in Albany.
The leak to the NY Times about the Silver investigation, coming at the beginning of the new legislative session, was not an accident - it was meant to undercut Silver in the days before his own re-election bid for Speaker and in the coming fights with Cuomo and the State Senate.
I have no doubt that was Bharara's office leaking to the Times about Silver, and I'm not suggesting Bharara is looking to undercut Silver to help Cuomo.
I am wondering if Cuomo's office had a hand in those leaks also, however.
I am not the only one to wonder that:
"Several Assembly members said they were waiting to hear his explanation, delivered as always in that low monotone, behind closed doors, before they make any judgments.
And they wondered why the latest news came on the eve of a new legislative session and Silver's expected run for another term as speaker. He is theoretically heading into 2015 strong: His already unassailable conference gained members, while the State Senate will be contending with a razor-thin Republican majority and Governor Andrew Cuomo is grappling with staff changes after he a re-election that was less than impressive."
Cuomo wants us to think he is still as strong as ever, that he can push through his education reform agenda almost unimpeded, that what he wants in education policy is a done deal.
The truth is, he is the weakest he has been as governor, he enters his second term with an unimpressive electoral victory, he has just pulled one of the more egregious acts of corruption in recent memory by killing Port Authority reform on Christmas weekend (an act that will come back to haunt him as he touts his "reformer" credentials in the future), he has lost 16+ members of his administration to attrition and can't seem to replace them and he has a Legislature that hates his guts and wants to stick a political shiv in him.
He can be beaten in the fight over education policy.
Now if only the teachers union leadership would, you know, show up to that fight ready for it.
But that's another post...